Women Empowerment is an issue which is very close to our hearts. We have been working with over 3500 women across our plant locations through Self Help Groups (SHGs), Skill Training, Computer Literacy and Income Generation Programs. Various programmes on Handicrafts, Beauty Culture, Dress Designing, Cookery, Dal Processing, Food Processing, Agarbatti Making, Mushroom Cultivation, Computer literacy programmes etc are being implemented with women.
Two hundred Self Help Groups (SHGs) have been formed who are doing regular monthly saving and inter-loaning. These groups have successfully engaged with local banks and over 60 lakh rupees is being disbursed as loans and subsidies. They have also been exposed to various training programs on enterprise development and marketing of products. Our focus during the years has shifted from a Self Help Group (SHG) model to identifying micro-enterprise opportunities for the women and encourage entrepreneurship. With various capacity building measures and training there is growing confidence among them and they are eager to take initiatives on their own.
Various SHGs are already doing small scale business in phenyl making, agarbatti making, food processing and mushroom cultivation. The produce of these various small scale enterprises are sold locally and the women are able to make small profits.
As a next step to the existing women empowerment initiatives an effort is being made to take them to the next level, level which looks at larger impact and is more sustainable. That is how ‘ASMITA’ was born, a group of 20 enthusiastic young women from Jajpur who came together to produce a range of designer home furnishing linen in Ikat. The first range of products received heartwarming reviews and appreciation locally and also by well known brands like Fab India.
These women started their journey as semi-skilled local seamstresses to skilled artisans who could produce quality products from a small production center in the remote location of Jajpur. This is just the beginning of the various initiatives that have been planned for the future.